In car aux: What is aux-in? | Parkers

What is aux-in? | Parkers

  • What does an aux-in connection do?
  • Find out whether your car has it…
  • … and, if not, how you can get it

Written by Luke Wilkinson

Published: 27 December 2022
Updated: 27 December 2022

An aux-in (or, to use its unabridged title, auxiliary-in) socket is a 3.5mm jack into which you can wire any device that has a physical headphone connection. It allows you to play your own music in your car without the need for a Bluetooth compatible head unit or an FM radio transmitter.

Aux-in connections are steadily being phased out of modern vehicles, as most new cars come with built-in Bluetooth connectivity and USB-based Apple CarPlay/Android Auto (like in the case of the Abarth 595 below). Some even feature wireless smartphone connectivity that allow you mirror your phone’s content on your car’s infotainment system without physically connecting it to the dashboard with a wire.


Abarth 595 dashboard and infotainment system

Aux sockets in cars are also falling out of favour because technology companies aren’t putting them on their smartphones anymore. These days, most flagship smartphones do without an aux-in jack – they expect users to either use a Bluetooth connection or buy a USB to aux-in conversion cable.

However, if you have an older smartphone and an older car, you might still find some use for an aux-in connection. Scroll down to read everything you need to know about aux-in connections

How does aux-in work?

It’s very easy. If your car and your device both have 3.5mm audio jacks, all you need is a 3.5mm audio cable to connect the two together and you can start playing music through your car speakers. The car’s input socket is normally found in the centre console. Just remember to select the aux function on your car’s stereo.

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you can’t use an aux-in connection handsfree. It’s a one-way street with data only being sent from the device to the stereo.


Car stereo with aux-in function activated

So, if you want to change the song, you’ll need to skip the track using your phone controls rather than the buttons on your car’s stereo or infotainment system – and that’s problematic in the UK. These days, it’s illegal to even touch your phone while driving. If you get caught fiddling with your music playlist while on the move, you could receive a hefty fine and points on your licence.

The best way to avoid this is to piece together a good playlist full of your favourite songs before setting off. That way, you won’t be tempted to scroll through your phone while driving.

What if my car doesn’t have an aux-in socket?

You can modernise older cars to accept an aux-in connection. Depending on the car, this could cost anywhere from £15 to a few hundred pounds depending on which route you take.

If you’ve got a car from the 1990s (like an old Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa), you’ll probably need to upgrade its stereo to gain aux-in functionality. That means swapping out the head unit (which is the big radio panel with dials and buttons on it) for a more modern unit with better connectivity features, such as the Pioneer system below. Follow this link for some of best car stereos on sale.

Providing you didn’t buy the car from a cowboy who butchered the wiring loom before handing you the keys, this isn’t a particularly arduous task. Most aftermarket stereos have a standard connection and you can normally buy patch harnesses that make the installation almost plug-and-play.

Budget for some fresh speakers, too. If you’re going to the trouble of installing a new head unit, you might as well swap the speakers out while you’re at it. There’s little else more disappointing than playing your favourite music through a set of clapped-out 30-year-old speaker cones.

But what if you haven’t got enough money to overhaul your car stereo? Fret not. If you want to get an aux-in connection on the cheap and your car is old enough to come with a tape deck, you can buy a cassette adapter with a built-in aux cable. Then, it’s a simple case of slotting the adapter into your radio and plugging the wire into your phone. Voila – modern music in an old car. Alternatively, if you want to propel your classic into the modern era, you can now buy a cassette adapter with bluetooth connectivity.


Cassette to aux-in adapter for older car stereos

What is aux in?

Abarth 595 dashboard and infotainment system

Cassette to auxiliary in car stereo adapter

Car radio with aux-in connection activated

Car AUX Port (Auxiliary) | The Final Goodbye

What is the AUX port used for in cars?

The Car Aux ports as the name suggests is a communication port that helps the user to interact via audio signals. The AUX port is typically used for audio equipment that receives peripheral sound sources, such as digital music players or audio speakers. An auxiliary port is also known as an auxiliary jack or auxiliary input.

In a generation where having musical experiences directly tailored to us, AUX had an era of its own. “Pass the AUX cable” became a phrase where one could not predict the next form of entertainment. You could never guess if someone was going to drop a typical Bollywood song or the latest Post Malone album. It represented the multitude, the unknown.

But the era of AUX cable is slowly descending into its armageddon. The descend began when Apple came out with a concept of no headphone jack. After Murdering the audio jack Apple came to an alternative to replace it with Bluetooth technology “Air Pods”. Well, we all have an opinion on this new relegation on using Bluetooth technology to access our private listening session. Where Bluetooth technology is rendered less reliable than plugging a cord into a hole.

The AUX cable played a huge role in controlling the auditory entertainment in our cars. Road trips were made a mesmerizing experience by “Pass the AUX cable” phrase and then changing the vibe in accord to the mood. An ethos of fun took-over the whole car scenario where one person in control of the AUX cable set the mood and the passengers took in the vibe. But now when car AUX port is overcome by Bluetooth connectivity, a hassle will always prevail of connecting your device first to the Bluetooth receiver and then executing your so-called DJ skills.

While Bluetooth is used in a host of different ways today, the way that most people interact with the technology on a daily basis is via their phones. Since Bluetooth allows for the creation of secure, local, wireless networks, the technology has seen widespread use in connecting wireless headsets to phones. The wireless control over audio output and hands-free calling is the main vector by which Bluetooth arrived in our cars. The rest is history.

Here’s a fun read: 7 Questions You Should Ask About Your Car Engine Oil

Is Bluetooth audio better than aux?

Whether Bluetooth is better than aux in terms of listening to music in a car comes down to two major issues: audio quality and convenience. Bluetooth can be a little finicky to set up. You have to set your device as “discoverable” and then use the other one to find the first one. And if the devices don’t pair, you may have to repeat the process until it does. Once your phone and car stereo have found each other, you will typically have to input a short passcode that will allow the two devices to successfully pair.

The main benefit of Bluetooth in terms of convenience is that, barring unforeseen circumstances, you shouldn’t have to repeat the pairing process. When your phone comes into the range of your car stereo, and both are powered up, the two should pair automatically. This is definitely more convenient than needing to physically plug in an aux connection every time you get in the car.

What are the drawbacks of using Bluetooth?

The main drawbacks of using Bluetooth to listen to music in your car:

  • Audio quality: While it may be more convenient in the long term, the audio quality will typically be worse with Bluetooth than with an aux connection.
  • Transmission of audio signals: The reason that Bluetooth audio typically isn’t that great is due to the way that devices use the technology to transmit audio. Rather than transmitting an uncompressed analogue signal, like a physical aux connection, sending audio via a wireless Bluetooth connection involves compressing the audio at one end and then decompressing it at the other.
  • Fidelity: Since Bluetooth audio transmission involves a form of lossy compression, some level of audio fidelity is necessarily lost whenever you use this type of connection. It is possible to transmit data via Bluetooth, in the form of complete files, without losing anything, but that doesn’t really come into play in this type of usage scenario.

The difference between Bluetooth and aux isn’t as great, the reality is that some level of audio fidelity is lost with Bluetooth even with the A2DP profile.

What are the advantages of Bluetooth over AUX?

  • Hands-free calling: Plugging your phone into your car stereo via a physical auxiliary connection will totally rule out hands-free calling. This is due to the fact ​that many phones will automatically want to use the wired connection to handle any incoming or outgoing calls when the wired connection is present. Of course, this typically will result in a situation where you can hear the person on the other end of the call through your car speakers, but they can’t hear you.
  • Hassle-free connection: When you pair a phone to a Bluetooth car stereo or a compatible OEM infotainment system, the main purpose might be to listen to music. However, creating this type of connection also gives you access to hands-free calling without the need to establish a separate connection or fiddle around with a wireless headset. Using Bluetooth to stream music is the best way to avoid this type of problem since your phone and car stereo will typically be able to swap from the music-streaming profile to the communications profile during a phone call.
  • Quick & Easy: A firm advantage over the car AUX port is that setting up Bluetooth connection though a bit finicky is a more convenient and easy process. After you have established a connection between two devices, you can add that device to your phone’s “Trusted devices” and wouldn’t have to go through the process all over again. Once you switch on your Bluetooth connectivity your device will automatically pair to the device added as ”Trusted devices”.

Bluetooth or Auxiliary | Which is the best for your car?

Like so many things in life, there’s no easy answer. Each audio connection technology has its own strengths and weaknesses, meaning it’s suited to specific purposes. If you’re looking for the most convenient way to carry out your business in the car. Bluetooth cannot be beaten in providing a quick and easy way to do so. If you’re looking for the versatility of value and good music quality AUX is the best way to go.

destroying dangerous myths and misconceptions

  • event_note 04/28/2022

Any modern transport carries a great danger for passengers, as well as for ordinary pedestrians. Safety measures in the car – something that every car owner should know and follow. The responsibility of the driver is the life of passengers in the passenger compartment of his car. If you do not drive a car yourself, but are a passenger, information about safety measures in the car interior will also be useful to you.

What rules and safety measures in the car must be observed before driving

Only those who have a driver’s license are allowed to drive vehicles. Each motorist undertakes to always have this document with him. When the license expires, it must be replaced. It is also mandatory to issue an OSAGO policy (this document should always be with you). The third obligatory document is the vehicle registration certificate. After purchasing a car, you need to register it. If this is not done, the driver will be held administratively liable.

What other items should I carry in the car? A fire extinguisher and a first aid kit are required. If you have an illness, keep the medicines prescribed by your doctor in the car.

In addition to the listed safety measures in a used car, you undertake to check its technical condition in a timely manner. An attempt to drive a car with a faulty steering mechanism, brake system, etc. will be considered a violation. You also need to monitor the condition of the headlights of your car – administrative responsibility is provided for their absence or faulty condition. Vehicle tires must be in good condition. Moreover, today it is possible to pump up the wheels right at the gas station.

1. General safety rules in the car for the driver.

Drivers of vehicles are strictly prohibited from driving while under the influence of alcohol. In addition to a fine and deprivation of rights, such a violation often entails more significant consequences – injury and death of the driver and passengers.

Be sure to use your seat belts, including when traveling short distances. Behind the wheel you need to be in a sober and adequate condition. If you’re not feeling well or haven’t had enough sleep, it’s best to postpone your trip.

If you are transporting heavy items, secure them carefully in the passenger compartment. Otherwise, during sharp turns or accidents, the object may injure passengers.

Driving safety involves staying alert and focused on the road. Mobile phones and other gadgets must not be used while driving.

Do not drive too fast or too slow. Stop in the middle mode, which will allow you to avoid traffic accidents, at the same time, you will not disturb other drivers. Control the movement of the car, taking into account its maneuverability and the ability to pick up or slow down.

2. Safety rules for passengers in the car.

All passengers without exception must fasten their seat belts. For children, you need to install a special chair. To avoid unpleasant consequences, when installing a child seat, follow the instructions.

Please note that the child cannot be in the car seat for a long period. Therefore, on long trips, you need to take small breaks.

Remember that the number of passengers must not exceed the number of seats provided by the interior of your car.

These rules will help you avoid traffic accidents and put your life in danger.

Safety measures in the car, which are designed to save the life and health of the driver and passengers

Without exception, all cars are equipped with special mechanisms and devices designed to ensure the safety of passengers while driving. The security system in the car is divided into active and passive.

1. Active vehicle safety.

Modern cars have several systems to avoid accidents. All of them are built into the engine and car frame. These include:

  • ABS brakes. The anti-lock braking system is necessary so that during hard braking your car retains its maneuverability, while you can turn to the side. This will prevent collisions and accidents.

    New technologically advanced ABS systems are able to prevent slippage and have electronic stability control of the vehicle. Thanks to them, when braking quickly, you can switch to electronic motion control. The anti-lock system is also used in the construction of motorcycles, caravans, aircraft landing gear.

  • Anti-slip system. In car safety measures, this system plays a huge role. The mechanism allows you to control the grip of the wheels of the leading pair with the road. This helps to overcome slippery tracks (for example, unpaved after rain).

  • Electronic stability control system. This system prevents the machine from skidding when maneuvering. The mechanism independently controls one or more wheels. This is the most effective accident prevention technique.

  • Brake force distribution system. The system is similar to ABS brakes, but in this case, the action of the mechanism is used in the normal movement of the car. During the transfer of braking forces to the wheels, the mechanism adjusts the degree of fixation of the wheel so that the car can maintain a stable position and not lose control. This design performs well on slippery surfaces, since in these conditions the grip of each wheel is different. The system prevents skidding and loss of control.

  • Electronic differential lock. A differential is a special mechanism that transmits torque to the wheels of a vehicle. In car safety measures, the differential lock plays an important role. This mechanism avoids a situation where a tightly coupled wheel cannot steer the car, and the other wheel slips or hangs in the air. In the differential lock state, the same torque is transmitted to all wheels, and the machine does not get stuck.

  • Parktronic. This mechanism is equipped with special sensors with ultrasonic waves. So the machine measures the distance to the object in front. If you drive too close to an object and there is a risk of collision, the system notifies the driver with a special signal.

  • Cruise control. This system can maintain a constant vehicle speed.

  • Descent and ascent assistance systems.

  • Handbrake. The mechanism is necessary to install the machine on a slope or parking lot.

2. Passive vehicle safety.

Passive safety measures in the car are needed in order to reduce the injury rate of impacts in an accident. A modern car includes the following systems:

  • Seat belts (they are present in all vehicles without exception), airbags (installed in the interiors of modern cars).

  • Head restraints – reduce the chance of neck injury in rear collisions.

  • Bumpers. Upon impact, these structures are damaged first, protecting the main part of the car. If the accident is small, the car remains intact.

  • Soft elements of the front panel. They are installed in order to reduce the morbidity of blows in the event of an accident.

  • Folding steering column. This device prevents strong blows falling on the chest of the driver in an accident.

  • Safety pedal control system. In the event of an accident, the pedals are separated, which prevents injury to the legs.

  • Safety glasses.

A special triplex film holds the glass back on impact, so that the fragments do not fly around the car. Modern materials make it possible to produce glasses that do not form large sharp fragments upon impact. This also applies to safety measures in the car.

  • System for moving the engine in case of an accident. Modern engine designs are made in such a way that in frontal collisions, heavy parts of the engine do not enter the cabin with passengers, but move down.

Today, the main task of the manufacturer is to make the frame of the car impact-resistant so as not to endanger the lives of passengers. The strength of the material can be assessed by special crash tests. If the car has not been tested for the strength of the frame, it is not allowed to mass production.

These mechanisms significantly reduce the likelihood of injury and death during accidents.

16 myths and misconceptions about car safety measures

A car is considered safe if it is able to prevent an accident on its own or reduce the injury rate of a traffic accident if it has already occurred. All this is possible thanks to modern systems and materials included in the design of the car.

  1. An experienced driver will cope with any emergency.

    Even if you have a great driving experience and follow all the safety measures when driving a car, you can also be overtaken by an accident. The cause of the accident may be the negligence of another driver or a technical problem in the car that you did not know about.

  2. You don’t need to fasten the belt – it doesn’t matter at low speed.

    An accident can occur at any speed, and a seat belt greatly reduces the risk of injury or death.

  3. Airbags will always save me.

    Airbags only protect you when your seat belt is fastened, and the speed of the car must be less than 80 km/h.

  4. Airbags are harmless.

    Unfortunately, there are cases when the airbag suffocated passengers in the cabin. Moreover, the opening of the pillows is accompanied by a loud pop, upon hearing which, many people lost their hearing. There are also cases when the pillows turned out to be faulty or did not work on time. But this security system is still used, since the best analogues have not yet been found.

  5. Crash-proof steering wheel protects as well as pillows.

    In modern cars, a steering wheel made of special safety plastic is often used as a safety measure. However, such a device in itself cannot save the life of the driver, but only reduces the degree of impact.

  6. Rear passengers do not need to buckle up in any case.

    If passengers from the rear compartment are not fastened, in the event of an accident they can fly into the front of the cabin. This entails injury to the driver and the passengers themselves.

  7. Children can ride just like adults.

    Safety measures in the car include the installation of a special child seat. It is necessary for the correct position of the body of the child. The chair contains its own fixing seat belts.

  8. A blow from behind is not dangerous.

    Statistics show that more than half of rear-end collisions end in the death of passengers. This happens because the human spine, a fragile and easily injured part of the body, falls under the blow.

  9. Side impact is extremely dangerous.

    Modern cars have side bars-amplifiers, as well as side airbags. Together, these devices greatly reduce the chance of death. Moreover, side collisions usually occur at low speeds, which in itself is less traumatic.

  10. Hitting a truck is always fatal.

    The designs of modern trucks include underride bars, due to which the passenger car will not be able to get under the wheels, as well as bumpers made of soft materials – they significantly reduce the impact. However, the consequences of an accident with high-sized cars will still be harder.

  11. Various things can lie in the cabin – what will happen to them.

    In the event of a sudden braking of the car, objects in the passenger compartment will move at the speed that the car gained before the collision. At the same time, in free flight, their mass will be many times greater. The risk of injury and damage is enormous. Therefore, in order to comply with safety measures when driving a car, it is better to refuse to carry heavy things in the cabin.

  12. The trailer will not affect the impact force in any way.

    This is a false belief, because in the event of a rear impact, the trailer is wedged into the vehicle structure with great force. In this case, the impact force increases due to the mass of the trailer.

  13. Car tuning does not affect its safety.

    Lightweight body structure after tuning has less strength. In accidents, the risk of damage to the health of passengers increases. Caution should also be taken when tuning car body kits: modified versions of these designs have worse energy-absorbing properties.

  14. Window tinting reduces vehicle safety.

    This is a false statement, as window tinting has quite a few benefits and can even become a safety measure in the car interior. Tinted windows absorb the sun’s rays well, eliminate the effect of a mirror, and reduce the brightness of the headlights of other cars. In winter, 99% of UV radiation is reflected due to tinting, which is why the interior does not burn out. In summer, about 7% of sunlight is reflected, the interior does not overheat. In the cold period, tinting keeps the temperature in the car (up to 35% of heat is retained). Also, tinted windows protect your car and the belongings in it from thieves.

  15. Tangential strike is not dangerous at all.

    Tangential collision does not cause serious damage to the vehicle. However, with such an impact, the driver often loses control of the car, which is dangerous for further accidents.

  16. A heavy vehicle is extremely dangerous in an accident.

    In a collision, a massive car is damaged to a lesser extent (due to significant weight and high strength).

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Fire in a car – Domestic emergencies

  • Be attentive to the car

    A fire is preceded by the appearance of smoke, the smell of burnt wiring, rubber or gasoline fumes in the passenger compartment of the car.

  • Don’t panic

    Stop the vehicle at the exit of the road away from people, other vehicles, buildings and structures. Turn off the engine, disembark passengers, put on the handbrake, pick up documents from the car. Remember that you can not stay inside the cabin for more than 90 seconds.

  • Do not increase the speed of movement

    If a car catches fire while driving, do not increase the speed, as this will only ignite the vehicle even more.

  • See where the smoke is located

    If there is a fire near the gas tank, move away immediately and get everyone to a safe distance.

  • If fire under soot

    Carefully use a stick or a pry bar to slightly open the place of the source of fire, as a flame may be ejected, and direct the foam jet of the fire extinguisher. It is important to extinguish the most intense source of fire either with a fire extinguisher or by covering it with a tarp, throwing sand, snow or earth over it. If it is impossible to quickly extinguish the fire, it is necessary to move to a sufficiently safe distance.

  • If there are passengers in the car

    In this case, it is important to help them get out as soon as possible and take them to a safe distance, if necessary, provide them with first aid and subsequently call an ambulance.

  • If the car caught fire near other cars

    If a vehicle fire occurs near other vehicles, roll nearby vehicles to the side or pour water on them to prevent them from catching fire.

  • Fire must be reported to the fire brigade

    In the event of a car fire, it is necessary to report a fire to the fire brigade by phone – 01, from a mobile number – 101, or to a single rescue service by phone – 112.

The cause of a car fire can be:

• faulty electrical wiring;

• depressurization of the fuel system;

• high temperature of some parts;

• smoking in a car;

• improper transport of dangerous goods;

• car collision;

• Arson of ill-wishers.

In the event of a fire, the vehicle driver must be prepared to take the correct action and properly localize the source of the fire. There are three most important things you should always have in your car: a first aid kit with medicines, a fire extinguisher and a non-synthetic cape.

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In case of fire in the car, put the car on the handbrake, turn off the ignition. If you see smoke from under the hood, then open it carefully so that flames do not burst out from under it. Due to the influx of air, the fire can flare up more strongly.